So am I. By James Gordon Meek for the New York Daily News :
WASHINGTON – In the wake of Nada Nadim Prouty’s guilty plea to lying her way into U.S. citizenship and sensitive FBI and CIA jobs, operatives of both agencies disagree whether she breached the government’s trust, or just showed poor judgment.
For many in the buttoned-down FBI, a fellow special agent tarnished the bureau’s image and betrayed them by living the lie that she was a law-abiding naturalized citizen from Lebanon.
“That can’t be glossed over,” said John Sennett, a retired agent and former president of the FBI Agents Association. “To get into the FBI under false pretenses is inexcusable. This isn’t like lying about your age to join the Navy in December 1941.”
But to CIA veterans, where Prouty was recruited as a covert operations officer in 2003, a talented spy merely fudged the truth to win her citizenship.
Prouty, 37, admitted in court that she became a U.S. citizen by hiring an American to marry her. She then joined the FBI in 1999.
“That’s not uncommon – people do it all the time,” said a dismissive CIA source. The source strongly praised her undercover work in Iraq fighting insurgents, and said at worst she used bad judgment before joining the CIA.
Several other CIA officers also shrugged off her pleading guilty to rifling FBI files for information on family members and a Hezbollah counterterror case in Detroit.
“As far as I can tell, she was just looking out for her family,” another senior official said.
Vince Cannistraro, an ex-CIA counterterror chief, said Prouty was worried for her sister Elfat, who married accused Hezbollah fund-raiser Talal Khalil Chahine.
Prouty had worked as a waitress in Chahine’s Detroit cafes before joining the FBI, and he helped vouch for her sham marriage in a 1992 letter to immigration authorities. In pleading guilty, she admitted searching bureau files for his name, her sister’s and her own in 2000.
“It looks more like she was concerned about her brother-in-law being involved in Hezbollah and was legitimately worried about her sister,” Cannistraro said.
Other knowledgeable sources strongly believe she was a mole.
James Bamford, who has written several respected books on the intelligence community, said it’s not surprising CIA vets wouldn’t care that Prouty lied. It’s the difference between the CIA and FBI cultures, he said. “One agency teaches people to lie and break the rules. The other teaches them to tell the truth and obey the rules,” Bamford said.
While FBI agents are indoctrinated to be morally pure because they often testify in criminal trials, “the CIA is the opposite,” he said. “The CIA was founded on subverting laws, going over walls and under fences.”